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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Protests in India over demolition of Muslim houses

LUCKNOW, India ( Associated Press) – The demolition of Muslim-owned homes and businesses in India has triggered protests in several cities across the country, prompting critics to call for “bulldozing justice” aimed at punishing Muslim activists. pattern is described. minority group.

Authorities in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh used a bulldozer on Sunday to demolish Javed Ahmed’s house, which they said was linked to a Muslim religious protest that erupted in violence last Friday. Police arrested Ahmed on Saturday.

The protests were triggered by derogatory remarks about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, made by two spokespersons of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, to which Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs. The party suspended one of them and expelled the other, in addition to issuing a rare statement in which it said it “strongly condemns the insult of any religious person”.

Bulldozers also destroyed property of protesters in two other cities of Uttar Pradesh last week. Last April, authorities in New Delhi used bulldozers to destroy Muslim-owned businesses, days after an outbreak of religious violence in which dozens of people were arrested. Similar incidents have been reported in other states as well.

“The demolition is a gross violation of constitutional norms and morality,” Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a Hindu nationalist politician and biographer of Modi, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Twelve eminent people, including lawyers and former Supreme Court and High Court judges, on Tuesday sent a letter to the country’s highest-ranking judge urging him to hold a hearing on the demolition, which they called illegal and “a form of punishment”. Extra-Judicial Group. He accused the Uttar Pradesh government of using violence against the protesters to quell dissent.

Two people were shot dead in a clash with the police in Jharkhand state capital Ranchi on Friday, protesting the remarks of the spokespersons of the ruling party.

The comments have been criticized by several Muslim-majority countries, and protesters in Bangladesh called for a boycott of Indian goods, prompting the government to step in to quell a diplomatic dispute.

Violence against India’s Muslim minority by Hindu nationalists has increased, fueled by Modi’s habitual silence on such attacks since he was first elected in 2014.

Indian Muslims have faced attacks related to their food, clothing or inter-religious marriage. Activist groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused Modi’s party of ignoring and at times promoting hate speech against Muslims, who make up 14% of the country’s 1.4 billion people but are still in the country. Enough to have the second largest Muslim population. in the world. Modi’s party denies these allegations.

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Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.

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